By Debbie Wilkins

Summer is coming and waiting until the pool opens is not going to be your game plan this year! Start making choices today that will lead to a fitter, more confident you, so that this anticipated season is fully enjoyed. As a personal trainer and fellow mom, I know that you are juggling a lot on a daily basis. Here is a simple plan of attack for you to follow, starting today. Change is possible when you commit to a healthy lifestyle!

Here is my list for the Top 10 Ways to Get in Shape for Summer…

1. Hydrate. 
Aim for 1 gallon of water per day. Water blunts hunger and has zero calories.

2. Do Metabolic Effect exercises by lifting heavy weights. 
You should feel the burn, be breathless and need to take frequent breaks. Twenty five minute dumbbell workouts 3 times a week will lead to a leaner, more toned physique.

3. Do High Intensity Interval Training for cardio. 
Instead of moderate exercise, like power-walking or jogging, complete 10 sprints. This burns more calories for a longer period of time, resulting in a lower body fat percentage.

4. Fill up on lean protein. 
Satisfying options include: turkey, chicken, fish, pork, eggs, lean beef, protein powders, bison, jerky and more. Protein controls hunger, builds muscle and encourages fat burning.

5. Load up on veggies at every meal. 
Sneak them into protein shakes, omelets, and salads. No one ever gets fat from eating broccoli.

6. Consume complex carbs. 
Not to be confused with starches like pastas, breads, and pastries, which add inches to your waistline….complex carbs provide energy and can actually prevent late-night cravings.Great options include oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and fruits.

7. Sleep. 
As busy moms, this one is challenging. Think of it as your invisible friend that prevents cravings, restores your body, balances hormones, increases happiness and energy, and slows aging.Aim for 8-9 hours per night. As a mom, take advantage of naps too!

8. De-stress. 
Stress is another unseen agent that can lead to weight gain. Instead of crying with a pint of ice cream in hand, create time for yourself. Go for a leisure walk around the neighborhood, take a bubble bath, exercise, paint your nails, read Triad Moms on Main, and whatever else brings you peace.

9. Prepare meals in advance and eat before hunger hits. 
Unwise food choices tend to be made when convenience is tested or when your stomach growls. By having healthy foods ready and available, you can proactively avoid temptations.

10. Cheat meal. 
Your goal is to eat clean as much as possible throughout the week. It is okay to indulge in those tasty treats occasionally, so pick one meal a week to enjoy whatever foods you like.

Can you rise to the challenge? Let us know if you have other suggestions to add to this list!